The key suspect accused in the burglary case of the Ponnyam Co-operative Bank near Thalassery on October 3 2008, was arrested by the police from his native place in the Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.
Chinna Murukan (28) alias Karate Murukan and Gundu Murukan was arrested from his house at Veppanna village in Madhuranthakam taluk in the Kancheepuram district on October 21. The police said he had also been in the group that carried out the robbery in the North Malabar Gramin Bank branch at Periya in Kasaragod. The police team led by Kanhangad Dy. SP Habeeb Rahman recovered 93 grams of gold ornaments and Rs. 1 lakh in cash that had been stolen from the Ponnyam Co-operative Bank and gold ornaments weighing 713 grams stolen from the bank at Periya. The police also seized a car that he had bought using the stolen booty.
Announcing the arrest at a press conference here on Thursday, Inspector General of Police Tomin J. Thachankari said that Chinna Murukan was among seven people who had been involved in the robbery at Ponnyam. The arrested, along with another member of the group had also joined the eight-member burglary gang involved in the Periya bank robbery, he said.
Mr. Thachankary said the police had stopped the transactions of the two landed properties in Tamil Nadu that Chinna Murukan had purchased after selling the stolen ornaments. He said the police investigation team could locate the receivers of the stolen gold. Chinna Murukan had received seven kilograms of gold ornaments as his share of the booty, the IG said, adding that he had sold the ornaments to three people. Investigation was under way to locate the whereabouts of the other six people involved in the Ponnyam bank robbery.
The robbery ‘operation’ had begun with ‘inputs’ about the bank given by an associate of theirs who had been stayed close to the bank for nearly one year. Though they had reached Thalassery on the morning of October 2, they abandoned the move to rob the bank that night when they saw people nearby. The following morning, they had left the tools used for breaking open the bank doors and safe in a bushy area near the bank, the IG said. They had decamped with the gold ornaments in a steel cabinet but the safe was untouched because it was stronger. After taking off with 23 kg of gold ornaments in three bags, they had shared the booty in a cemetery and left for different places. Chinna Murukan had gone to Hosur in Karnataka, the IG said.
Mr. Thachankari said the arrested was also involved in various cases of robbery including the Kanani Bank robbery in Thrissur, theft in the Beverages Corporation outlet in Thanur and jewellery thefts in Kuttyadi and Pookottur.
The IG said Chinna Murukan had lived in Chalakkunnu near Thalassery years ago. He was a member of a burglary gang known as the ‘Ayyannur group’, he said. The arrested was also an artiste and singer and the police was considering his rehabilitation, he said. Mr. Thachankary said the arrested would be handed over to the Crime Branch.